Practicing Acceptance

I’d like to tell you a story about my dad. You see, he passed away 13 years ago this month. In my eyes he was a great man. A skyscraper in a village of cottages. I always said he walked on water. But I’m reminded of him this month not because it happens to be an anniversary of his death, but rather because I went to Dunkin Donuts this weekend and ordered an iced tea. You always get a straw with iced teas. Oddly enough, it was the straw that reminded me of him .

My dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer that I was sure with all of my heart and soul we were going to beat. Of course, he was the type of man that never wanted to burden anyone with his issues (and this IS a difficult thing to digest), so he never did say the C word, but we all knew that’s what it was. The normal protocol ensued and he went through rounds of chemotherapy and then surgery and then more chemotherapy. Shortly into his chemo regiment, he began to study the effects it was having on his body. The one description that still sticks with me is the way his mouth felt. His throat hurt and there were sores in his mouth and he always had a metallic taste in his mouth.

As a result, he began to develop an affinity for two things: spearmint Life Savers and the straws from Dunkin Donuts. Well, the Spearmint Life Savers helped to alleviate the metallic taste in his mouth and overshadowed anything that he tried to eat


he always said that it tasted like he was eating coins and nails. Consequently, today I somewhat get that between the throwing up in the taste in one’s mouth why somebody undergoing chemotherapy would never want to eat. My dad developed a strategy for getting something into his body and that something happened to be milk shakes and the strategy was using straws. Not everybody had the right straws, though. Two magic

al places did: Dunkin Donuts and Burger King. Next time you go to one of those two places, notice that the straws are rounder than most; not thicker, but rounder. The diamet

er across the straw allows for more of the yummy goodness to get into your mouth and down your throat. of course, as I said, my dad’s choice of what went into his mouth and down his throat was always a milk shake, preferably chocolate. They were cold, ice cream was his favorite, and they soothed his throat and mouth.

Yes, it was sweet moments like this that assuaged the anger that I felt toward cancer, toward my life circumstances at the time and toward God. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why this great Man had eventually become riddled with cancer and passed away.

I wish I could say that I handled this with grace and poise. But I can definitely tell you that I handled it with love until the moment of his death. It was after his death that I fell into a depression fueled by my anger, my, and my feelings of betrayal. None of my questions were being answered: Who is going to teach my children the same things that I had learned from my dad? Who was going to teach them patience? Heck, who was going to teach them how to use power tools and encourage them in anything they did?


So why do I write this on a health and wellness blog? Well (1) I feel like talking about my dad because he was such a great man, and (2) I came to realize that by accepting life as it was, I gained a sense of peace. I learned that just by living I would be teaching my children my dad’s patience because he taught me. I would be teaching my children all of the things that my dad taught me: life lessons, phrases, family stories, fishing. I learned that instead of fighting what life has given me, I could accept it and work with it and learn from it. I learned that acceptance doesn’t mean I don’t care. Instead acceptance means I do care about you and about me; and by accepting the circumstances, I can identify if changes can even be made. By practicing acceptance, I’m not giving up the fight I am only first accepting what is and seeing things more clearly.

I apply this in my daily life with my family and work and in other relationships. It doesn’t happen naturally. It is something that needs to be worked but the longer I do it the easier it gets and the less stress I feel about situations that I cannot control.



22 1/2 East Main

I’ve been thinking a lot about the place where grew up. The address was 22 1/2 East Main Street. My only guess at the time for the 1/2 is because it seems like it was slid in between 2 main houses on the street. The only visible part of our house from the street was our driveway. Our mailbox was nailed to the porch of the house on the left of our driveway and my mom would pull in the driveway each night, stop, open her door halfway, and pull the mail out of the mailbox, hardly getting out of the car. That driveway was divided by a small cement barrier and on the other side was the driveway for our landlord who was also the town historian at the time. I felt like he was ancient and represented history all by himself. Our half of the driveway meandered back a couple 100 yd over a dilapidated bridge that crossed a creek. Then it turned a 90゚ angle and opened up into a place where my mother could park her car.

In front of the car was a small yard sorrounded by ever green and trees. I have a very distinct memory of sitting in a little patch of grass with the sun shining on me while I was writing and listening to the Eagles’ Hotel California. It was a little yard. I couldn’t even call it a lawn because most the time it was covered with leaves. Those rotting kinds of leaves that pile from one to the next, but in this particular memory there was a clear patch of grass and the Sun was shining through the trees. It was also the first time I remember knowing all the words to hotel California. I used to love the Eagles. I still do. It makes me laugh when the kids today listen to the songs of then and sing them like they just invented them.

I had the chicken pox while we lived in that apartment. I remember being scratchy during the night. When I woke up I went into my mother’s room and told her that I think I have the chicken pox. She didn’t even lift her head up off the pillow. She just said go watch cartoons and that’s what I did. I

remember sitting Indian style on the floor in front of the TV watching that cartoon, Heckle and Jeckle trying not to scratch. Those were the days when everybody brought their kids over so they would also be exposed to the chicken pox just to get it over with.

Maybe I’m thinking of these memories because both of my sons are around the same Age I was at that Time. They’re building the same memories that I built back then by playing basketball in the cul de sac, joking around in the kitchen, roughhousing while I’m trying to cook dinner, sitting together and talking, working together against to me to try to annoy me, having their friends over, and yes messing with Google Home and playing the songs of yesteryear because that’s what they hear me playing.